Fosterville record boosts Kirkland Lake’s production increase

Fosterville gold mine in Victoria. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold has continued growing its cornerstone assets in Australia and Canada, boosting its gold production by 41 per cent in the 2020 financial year.

The Fosterville gold mine in Victoria was a solid contributor, producing 640,467 ounces of the 1.3-million-ounce total for the financial year, in line with the company’s guidance of 1.3-1.4 million ounces.

This result was a production record at the Victorian mine, offsetting interrupted production at the company’s Canadian assets that was brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Kirkland Lake could not exceed Fosterville’s quarterly record set in the fourth quarter of the 2019 financial period, producing 164,008 ounces for the quarter, tailing behind the 191,894 December 2019 quarterly record.

Kirkland Lake president and chief executive Tony Makuch said despite its tests, 2020 ended up being the company’s “best year ever… in many respects”.

“Faced with unprecedented challenges, we generated solid results,” Makuch said. “Our strong performance was driven by Fosterville, which generated record production (and) better than expected results during quarter four 2020.”

Makuch was also pleased with the company’s exploration efforts during the 2020 financial year, describing Fosterville and the Detour Lake and Macassa sites in Canada as “three of the most exciting exploration stories in the industry”.

“We made excellent progress with our key growth projects,” he said. “At Fosterville, a twin exploration drive being developed to Robbin’s Hill advanced over 3200 metres, with underground drilling from the drive to commence late this year.”

Kirkland Lake also drilled higher than expected grades from infill drilling in the Swan Zone at Fosterville, which confirmed the scale of mineralised systems at the Robbin’s Hill, Cygnet and Harrier targets.

Thanks to the consistent performance across Fosterville and its Canadian mines, Kirkland Lake was able to return a whopping $847.6 million to its shareholders in 2020 and achieved its goal of repurchasing 20 million shares over a 12-24 month period.

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